Standards Letter to the Editor

‘Common Standards’ Panels Will Lack Important Voices

August 11, 2009 1 min read
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To the Editor:

As higher education faculty members in English and literature departments, we read with concern the list of participants chosen to draft “college ready” standards for the English language arts as part of the common-standards effort coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (“Expert Panels Named in Common-Standards Push,” July 1, 2009).

While we are pleased that a member of our Association of Literary Scholars and Critics is on the “feedback” committee for the English language arts, we see a problem in the failure to include (as far as we can determine) not even one faculty member of a college literature or humanities department or high school English teacher on the English-language-arts standards-writing committee itself.

We believe that a truly valuable conversation about what students graduating from our high schools should know and be able to do as first-year college students should include both high school English teachers and, in particular, experienced college-level teachers of literature or the humanities across a range of courses and from a range of institutions.

Clare Cavanagh

Associate Professor
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.

Susan Wolfson

Department of English
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

The writers are the president and vice president, respectively, of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, headquartered in Boston.

A version of this article appeared in the August 12, 2009 edition of Education Week as ‘Common Standards’ Panels Will Lack Important Voices


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